NBC’s Heroes brought salted-peanuts addictiveness back to TV. America Ferrera blossomed on Ugly Betty. Fox’s 24 topped itself with a ludicrous, addictive—luddictive?—fifth season. Fox’s Prison Break revived itself, thanks to Javert-like FBI agent William Fichtner. Speaking of Javert-like inspectors: Forest Whitaker as Lieutenant Jon Kavanaugh on The Shield. Rashida Jones provided Jim with an all-too-tempting alternative to Pam on The Office. Chloë Sevigny surprised as a priggish Mormon vixen on Big Love, while Michael Emerson slithered as villain Ben Linus on Lost. Martin Landau showed up the whippersnappers on Entourage. Laura Bennett, the candid, fecund, red-tressed Project Runway New Yorker, won our hearts, if not the show. With Weeds, Sleeper Cell, Brotherhood, and Dexter, Showtime out-HBOed HBO. L Speaking of Dexter: Michael C. Hall as TV’s most—well, only—sympathetic psychopath (sympopath?). Steven Weber and Amanda Peet on Studio 60.
Alec Baldwin and Tracy Morgan on 30 Rock. The surprising, uncompromising Rescue Me. The sanity-preserving double dip of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Speaking of The Daily Show: new correspondent Rob Riggle. Speaking of correspondents: Rob Corddry’s sitcom The Winner, the funniest show you haven’t watched yet—expect Fox to premiere it mid-season. Adam Sternbergh